"the name Bank of Montreal wasn't an option"

White Rock B.C. - Friday, March 2, 2007 - by: Brian Marlatt

I'm surprised it has taken this long for the Bank of Montreal to change the Tisdale branch signage to incorporate their BMO branding. The Bank of Montreal (as in BMO ntreal) conducted surveys in shopping malls, among other places, regarding their proposed change of name. I was included in the survey.

Ordinarily, I don't participate in these things, but in this instance I was waiting for someone who I had learned would be late arriving and so had time to kill. I was taken into a little room and asked to give my opinion regarding several lettered and name based changes, including BMO and something which incorporated the words "Financial Group."

What was most interesting was that there was no interest in my suggestion that the best choice would be the Bank of Montreal. It wasn't an option and wasn't allowed to be. I added it to the list on the survey anyway, noting that I didn't like any of the choices offered. To no effect, of course, even though the status quo was far and away the better choice.

Bureaucratic intertia? The disinterest of those who had made a choice for themselves, effecting others? Or, as in other matters, simply an Inconvenient Truth. Ask Peter Mackay.

In small things, larger issues lurk. Change a flag, a uniform, a name. Small things. Or not. Will a small change, change the world? Incrementally.

Change a flag. A connection with identity and history are lost. A uniform, name, initials? Change Navy and Air Force blue and khaki (pronounced "car-key" in Canada, from the anglicized Urdu) or RCN, RCAF and Canadian Army and mean something else. The Empress, Royal York, and Chateau Frontenac become "Fairmont". The Royal Bank of Canada becomes RBC and "North American". The BNA Act becomes the Canadian Constitution, 1867. Progressive Conservatives become "Conservatives".

"Canada's New Government" ?

Names. A naming of parts. Incremental change. Fundamental change, without permission of those it affects. Significance.


Brian Marlatt



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